20 December 2009

Slate: Embrace the fruitcake!

Sara Dickerman on Slate.com, wrote a lovely article about fruitcake--go take a look. The phrase "In fact, I'd argue that fruitcake, with its aging and its complexity, is essentially the charcuterie of the baking world" had me at hello. What a lovely idea. I want a t-shirt made with that phrase on it. I agree with Ms. Dickerman, fruitcake is the final frontier for foodies--it's time to give it its due. Dickerman makes her own fruitcake, which sounds phenomenal. I've said a few times on this blog that the home made ones just about always seem to be the best ones, and the ones she describes sound delectable.

16 December 2009

White fruitcake recipe with applesauce in it?

I received an e-mail lately where the reader reminisces about a recipe for a white fruitcake of his/her grandma, which contained applesauce. Seeing as I don't actually make my own fruitcake, I can't help, but if anyone of my readers knows a recipe or knows where this reader might go to find one, please put your information in the comments. Thanks!

12 December 2009

The "because it was there" review: Village Fair fruitcake

I don't often do my fruitcake shopping on a whim. But this time of year can lead to fruitcake-buying-on-a-whim, and as I perused my local supermarket, I came upon this:

Well, what the heck, I review fruitcakes, let's take a look at the one that's just laying there, waiting to be purchased, right? This fruitcake, 16 ounces of it, cost me $4.99, plus I think I got some extra savings on it through the grocery store. Obviously, no shipping.

When I googled "Village Fair fruitcake," I was pointed directly to the website of Benson's Bakery, which makes me happy, as this was one of the fruitcakes I had on my list to review. Although this is a southern bakery (hailing from Bogart, Georgia), the quality of this cake places it decidedly into the Mass-Produced category.

Here's a photo of the fruitcake itself, in all of its pre-cut glory:

The fruits and nuts include golden raisins, cherries, orange peel, pineapple, and (interestingly) dehydrated papaya, and the nuts include pecan and walnut pieces. All of this is cradled, however, in a batter filled with ingredients typical of a mass-produced product: corn syrup, partially hydrogenated oils, high fructose corn syrup, and preservatives.

The flavor and texture is nothing fabulous. The batter is more like a pound cake batter than other cakes I've tried. The fruits and nuts are cut fairly small, to match the smallness of the cake, but it's a bit dry. Also, I think it's the dried papaya that adds an almost a gristly texture to the cake.

So, once again, this is a cake that makes me understand why so many people dislike fruitcake. As for where it should go on the rating scale . . . hmmm, I'll put it between Turnip 1 and 2 because of the interesting collection of fruit and absence of vegetables.

04 December 2009

A good fruitcake review article

A website named Consumersearch has just updated (as of November) a very complete article comparing various reviews of fruitcake. Yes, it does include this site, but that's because, um, the article is about fruitcake, and not too many people write fruitcake reviews on the interwebs. In any case, I recommend going there because there's nice links to other articles and websites, including my buddies at Wall Street Journal--the dudes like fruitcake.